Critics’ Picks

Sayre Gomez, Bench with Figure (’Angst’
Model) in Cerulean, 2014, painted manikin, custom-dyed clothing, painted wooden bench. 96 x 18 x 52”.

Sayre Gomez, Bench with Figure (’Angst’
Model) in Cerulean
, 2014,
painted manikin, custom-dyed clothing, painted wooden bench. 96 x 18 x 52”.

Los Angeles

Sayre Gomez

François Ghebaly
2245 E Washington Blvd.
October 10–December 6, 2014

On Sayre Gomez’s Instagram, in a shot of his latest solo effort, “Im Different,” a visitor bends down to clean up his dog’s poop. It’s easy to see how a dog could get confused: Sprinkled across Ghebaly’s spacious main gallery, like a kind of attitudinal filler, is a thin layer of dark, trashy mulch. The spread is studded with toxicologically painted fake rocks, hiding speakers (Hypnotic Presence of Popular Music in Southern California, 2014), each leaking out pop hip-hop hits—not least of which is 2 Chainz’s “I’m Different.” This ironical dawg park declares this exhibition “different” from your traditional bleached-white painting show, while clumping together Gomez’s disparate production: paintings from several series, banners by Chicago designers Struggle Inc., a pair of coffee-table sculptures—the mulch adding “substance” to works otherwise united mostly by style.

In the gallery’s mulchless second room, a salvaged window set into an interior wall (Uww (Untitled Window Work), 2011/2014) dates the trajectory common to Gomez’s past several shows: a “window” motif, also represented in Thief Painting in Violet over Orange, which shows a pair of white gloves raising a sash from the inside a house, or Untitled Painting, both 2014. One might think of Gomez’s ten large vertical canvases as themselves “window-like”—a toss to pictorial tradition, or to the picture-dense windows of the Internet (which—besides the airbrush—is seemingly Gomez’s main tool). The moody reiteration of found images, like the hands or a dewy brush line (Untitled Painting and Untitled Painting, II, both 2014), approaches a kind of souled mass production. But this hazy intensity is dispelled, if not effaced, by the posturing evident in works like Bench with Figure (Angst model) in Cerulean, a knockoff-Klein-blue mannequin observing the field of mulch. Though its self-consciously “different” setup is, in its painfully contemporary way, nothing new, this is no plain-old painting show. Indeed, the mannequin seems to stare longingly at the wall, toward distant paintings hung like windows above a crapscape of cool.